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Between the Lines

For five years in the early 1990s the U.S. 1 Dining

Guide earned accolades. It was comprehensive (everything from takeout

joints to plush four star restaurants) and it was indexed, so you

could quickly find the spots with outdoor tables or historic settings,

for instance. The guide summarized the menus and told about the

ambience, sometimes irreverently. We did not "review" the food,

because we believed then (and still do now) that a fair food review

requires multiple visits from a professional critic.

When U.S. 1 Newspaper changed from a biweekly production schedule to a

weekly one, we began to wonder just how much printed matter we could

deposit in your offices each week. And so we ceased publishing the

print version of the Dining Guide in 1995. Instead we offer biannual

dining updates in our regular publication — this year’s spring

edition appears in this issue, beginning on page 16.

But a new and different U.S. 1 Dining Guide has taken the place of the

paper version. It can be found on our website,

It has the same basic information and a virtual index: search on the

words "outdoor" or "historic" and you will come up with the

restaurants that have outdoor tables or historic buildings.

And since 1998 the guide has been interactive — helpful, informative,

and sometimes irreverent comments are now supplied by our readers.

Each restaurant listing offers the opportunity for you, the reader, to

become an instant dining critic. You have responded with alacrity.

Recent pro and con comments have been posted about the Blue Point

Grill, Orchid Pavilion, Kanoko, Thai Village, Capuano’s, Romeo’s,

Crown of India, Mediterra, Lotus Garden, and Rat’s.

We encourage critics to identify themselves somehow, perhaps by where

they live and work. One reader praised an Italian restaurant, adding,

"trust me, my last name ends in a vowel."

Customer service (or the lack of it) reaps many comments. A

24-year-old woman on her first visit to Princeton was incensed by the

way a rude bartender rejected her driver’s license, tossing it down,

and saying "I won’t accept that." As she points out, the question "Do

you have anything else?" would have been more appropriate.

Price versus value is another popular topic. "Overpriced" is a

frequent epithet, often followed by the defense of the prices from

someone else. Except for the earliest ones, the comments are dated, so

you can see observe the trends and make allowances for what might have


Because the guide covers the gamut, everything from the most fancy to

the least fancy spots, we have elicited tips on unlikely places:

takeout (at Sakura Express and Zorba’s Grill), lunch places (Sally

Lunn’s), and chain restaurants (Chili’s and Macaroni Grill).

Is your favorite restaurant in our lineup? Do you know a jewel waiting

to be discovered or a popular restaurant that does not live up to its

vaunted reputation? Here’s your chance to be a restaurant critic. You

have been there. You know what you think. And you may tell the world.

And be forewarned: In cyberspace the world is liable to talk back.

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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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